Not too long ago I was reading a post about mothers who felt like they had lost themselves once they became a mother.
There were several comments from readers about how they could relate and how they had the same type of feelings and frustrations. I among them.
However, one of the comments from a mother said that she was appalled about how selfish mothers were because she found herself in her children. They were her purpose in life and everything was about them, which brought her joy.
When I first read that, I was furious.
I was offended.
I have had the same feelings of losing myself after becoming a mother, but I wholeheartedly love my children and I, too, have thrown myself into their lives making my only purpose to make them happy, and I have still felt lost. Like, who am I? Where did I go?
I felt like she was saying that I loved my children less because I was being selfish by not finding myself in my children!
So, this got me thinking about this concept of feeling lost and feeling like you’ve lost your identity after becoming a mom.
I have had many a conversation with friends about this very topic. It’s a real struggle.
So, why do we lose ourselves and how do we find ourselves again?
Let me start by saying you do NOT love your children any less and you are NOT selfish for having these thoughts. Motherhood is hard. But, HARD, doesn’t mean bad, or that you love your children less.
Why you lose yourself when you become a mom
1. Your world literally got turned upside down.
Becoming a mom is not really a transition. One second you’re at the hospital, the next you’re taking a baby home. (I mean it’s a LOONNGG second, but you get the picture). You go from total freedom to managing your whole schedule around a tiny little soul. It’s hard. You can’t be spontaneous. You can’t do all the things you used to love to do. Your responsibilities, chores, worries, everything have suddenly increased. It’s not easy. You have to adapt to this change and to this new lifestyle, it’s not wrong, it’s just different. It’s hard to find your new place in this new life.
2. You become a different person.
Having kids changes you, in SOO many ways. Mostly for the better. I mean, my kids occasionally bring out some crazy angry monster in me. I deny her, and I don’t know her. But for the most part, I’ve learned how to become more patient (although not patient enough), less selfish, more giving, more compassionate, stronger, tougher, and more humble. And it’s a pretty fast change. But you also might have all these other hard emotions like anxiety, depression, and raging hormones. You have to figure out who you are in this new life because you’ve changed. I am definitely not the same person I was 5 years ago before having my little girl.
3. There aren’t enough hours in the day.
Kids make life busier. It’s hard to find time to detox, relax, and make time for yourself. And this is not in a selfish way. There is a different between being selfish and self-care. And you just don’t have a lot of time for it. It’s hard to even find time to shower sometimes. This takes a toll on your body and your mind. It’s hard. You just have to find clever ways to take care of you.
How to Find Yourself as a Mom
The lady got one thing right, you make your kids a primary purpose, but it doesn’t have to be your ONLY purpose. For the longest time I thought I could only be a mom, and it didn’t bring me all the fulfillment I needed. It left me mad and angry. So, I worked on changing my mindset from “this is all I do and I’m unhappy” to “I want to do this for my kids, but I also have this goal”.
You have to change your mindset to have your kids be one of your new focuses. You might think this comes naturally once you become a mom, but it doesn’t! It’s hard sometimes to see them as a focus of your life because it seems that all they do is take and take. But when you have a focus on your kid’s wants and needs and truly love them unconditionally, the easier it will be to serve them and love them. What I’m NOT saying is that this has to be your ONLY purpose and the ONLY thing you do all the time. But make sure it’s one of your purposes. Once you have that mindset, it’ll change the way you feel and act.
2. Not Your ONLY Purpose.
You have been given so many different talents. The Lord gave us many talents. One of them, I believe, is being a mother. But he also gave us several other wonderful talents to share with others. Don’t smother your hobbies or your goals just because you’ve become a mom. Take up a hobby with your kids. Teach them. Show them through example that you can go after your dreams and accomplish anything with hard work. Involve them in those ways and in several ways. Discover new talents. Find out what makes you happy, and what you like.
3. Discover new things.
You’re a new person now. Discover what’s different. Discover what you like and don’t like. What hobbies you can do while at home with your kids, or can find time to do with your kids. One great way to do this is to journal. Really take time to reflect on life and discover who you are. You could also work on setting goals or making a vision board.
4. Take time for self-care.
5. Don’t try to do everything perfectly all the time.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. You can’t be perfect. No one can! We all have flaws, we all struggle, and we all definitely mess up. Don’t beat yourself up for not being the perfect mom, or the mom you wish you were. Just try to improve everyday and take it one day at a time. Discover who you are as a mom, how you operate, and how you can be better by using your talents and strengths.
6. Put the kids on your schedule.
Put the kids on your schedule, not the other way around. Keeping kids on a schedule is good. They thrive off of routine, but don’t be so consumed with it, that it takes over your life. I used to do this, and I would get so mad when it was nap time because I wanted to do something else. I was so obsessed about messing up their schedule that I was going crazy. It’s okay to miss nap time. And maybe it’s not nap time, maybe it’s moving dinner an hour, or having to move bedtime because you stayed out a little late.
7. Losing is How you Find.
It has been said that when you lose yourself, you find yourself. So, instead of looking at life like you’re lost. Look at it as a chance to discover who you are now, what your goals are, and where and who you’d like to be. I would have never started this blog if I didn’t have my kids and struggle with my depression and anxiety. I mean, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it’s made me stronger, and has taught me a lot about life. You will constantly be changing and discovering yourself in life, so look at it as an opportunity.
I say I was offended at that lady at first, but then she really got me thinking. So I guess I should thank her and look at it as an opportunity. 🙂